Sunday, March 27, 2016

Meyer Lemonade Cake

Citrus fruits really do remind me of spring and summer. I definitely have spring fever! Luckily I have a window at work, since it is getting more difficult to stay inside.

Lime and lemon are my favorite citrus flavors.  However, with the introduction of the Meyer lemons, I am more apt to use these in baking instead of regular lemons.  Since they are the result of a cross between lemons and oranges, the lemon flavor is less acidic but still prevailing. This recipes uses around 6-8 lemons. That worked out well, since Meyer lemons are sold by the bag around here.

This cake is a perfect way to brighten up your day. I changed the recipe a little to make the lemon flavor stronger in the cake. With zest in the batter and a soaker on top with candied lemon peel, it really packs a lot of luscious lemon flavor in every bite.  The cake part is reminiscent of the texture that you find in a pineapple upside down cake.

This recipe makes 2 single layer, 8 inch cakes. One for you and yours and one for the neighbors or co-workers.

Meyer Lemonade Cake
adapted from Serious Eats website

Ingredients/Cake and Soaker
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter
8 oz  plain yogurt
4 eggs
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbs lemon zest (takes about 2-3 lemons)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup candied lemon peel (takes about 4 or 5 lemons, recipe below)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Ingredients/ Candied Peel
4-5 lemons
1 cup water
2 tbs corn syrup
1 cup sugar

The first step will be making the candied peel. Set up 2 pots full of water and a bowl or sink full of ice water. Also, have a strainer close at hand.

Place both pots of water over high heat. As you wait for the water to boil, take the lemons and peel off strips, using a potato peeler running it down the length of the lemon. Take care to get as little of the pith as possible. After all lemons are peeled, slice the peelings into thin strips.

The next process is to blanch the lemon strips. The blanching will be done three times. Put the strips in the first boiling pot of water and let boil for 20 seconds. Remove pot from heat and pour into a strainer. Then take strainer of strips and submerge in ice bath, just deep enough to cover and cool the strips. Take empty pot and refill with water. Place over high heat and let come to a boil. As it heats up, follow the same blanching process using the boiling water in the second pot and the recently heated water in the first pot. Leave strips in strainer.

For the candy syrup, put sugar, corn syrup and water in a pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally, letting mixture come to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Add blanched lemon strips.

Correct the temperature of the liquid to a simmer mode, liquid should have occasional bubbles. Cook at this temperature for about 20 minutes. Liquid will be thicker and lemon peels will start to curl. Remove from heat. Let cool completely before using.

For the cake, prepare two 8 inch round cake pans by greasing the interior and lining with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and only 2 cups of the sugar until mixture takes on a much lighter texture. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating into butter/ sugar blend for about 30 seconds. Repeat the same process with each egg, until all are blended in. Sprinkle in zest and beat for another 30 second. Mix in the vanilla extract. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the sifted ingredients into the batter in 3 stages, alternating with the yogurt. The start of the process as well as the end will be with blending in the dry ingredients.

Lastly, stir in only 1/2 cup of the lemon juice until completely blended into the batter. Divide batter equally and empty into each prepared pan. Place in oven and let bake for about 20 minutes and rotate pans then bake for an additional 20 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when lightly touched in the center and turns a golden hue or use a toothpick to check if done. Remove pans and place on rack. Let cakes cool in pans 20 minutes.

As cakes cool, make the soaker by filling a pot with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of juice. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved , remove from heat. Brush mixture over cooled cakes. Let the cakes remain in the pan for another 10 minutes.
Invert the cakes onto a rack covered in wax paper and quickly invert again so drizzled side is face up. and cakes have cooled for 20 minutes. Then garnish with candied peel.

Tips and Notes:
1. The cakes are very sticky so springform pans would insure the appearance of the surface,removing the cakes prior to soaking is a good idea.

2. The soaker has too much syrup compared to the actual peels, so cutting the liquid ingredients  in half would be better.
                            **LAST YEAR: Havana Cupcakes**